Out of Focus - the diary of a student radiographer.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

PACS of fun

The radiology dept is having a fun time at the moment. We are having a new computer system called PACS installed which means eventually we will stop printing x-ray images into film. We area already taking digital images (known as computed radiography or CR) but PACS enables the images to be stored and viewed on terminals with special high-resolution monitors all over the hospital, and in time, other hospital and GPs surgeries.

Like all new IT systems, this one is suffering from its fair share of teething troubles. The PACS system is having to cope with input from lots of different equipment from different manufacturers. Random images from one of the fluoroscopy rooms have been disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again. The superintendent (radiographer in charge) has been ranting about how useless PACS is to any person who will listen, and several who won't.

Don't you just love technology? I'm just glad my current placement is finished and hopefully they will hit it with a big stick and get it sorted before I go back in two weeks time.

A footnote: when I found the NHS website about PACS that I linked to above, I took a look at the page about the benefits of PACS to radiographers. The list consists of benefits of a CR system, not PACS, which (as the name says) is purely an archiving and communication system. The only benefit of PACS to radiographers is not having to print films. Granted, many hospitals are getting CR and PACS at the same time, but I wish the people who write these things would check their facts with the people who know.


  • Hehe, I'll have to tell my Mum about that. Last time she was a radiographer, she was still having to develop films by hand in a dark room!

    By Blogger car01, at 10:14 am  

  • We've been told that almost all institutions in the US (save the small clinics and hospitals out in the boondocks) are switched over to PACS or at least CR. It looks like film developing is going the way of the dodo.

    With any luck I wont have to use film much at all during my career. They still plan to teach us how the whole film process works, but we no longer have to actually learn how to do it ourselves and test off on it.

    I hope things clear up at your hospital soon. I guess there will always be bugs with a new system, but there is a line where it crosses from annoying to detrimental.


    By Blogger ArizonaDB, at 2:25 am  

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